Totalitarianism and Political Religion: An Intellectual History

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Stanford University Press, Mar 7, 2012 - History - 320 pages
The totalitarian systems that arose in the twentieth century presented themselves as secular. Yet, as A. James Gregor argues in this book, they themselves functioned as religions. He presents an intellectual history of the rise of these political religions, tracing a set of ideas that include belief that a certain text contains impeccable truths; notions of infallible, charismatic leadership; and the promise of human redemption through strict obedience, selfless sacrifice, total dedication, and unremitting labor. Gregor provides unique insight into the variants of Marxism, Fascism, and National Socialism that dominated our immediate past. He explores the seeds of totalitarianism as secular faith in the nineteenth-century ideologies of Ludwig Feuerbach, Moses Hess, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Giuseppe Mazzini, and Richard Wagner. He follows the growth of those seeds as the twentieth century became host to Leninism and Stalinism, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism—each a totalitarian institution and a political religion.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Hegelians after Hegel
29
Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx History as Religion
58
Leninism Revolution as Religion
87
Fascism The Antecedents
115
Fascism The State as Religion
142
The Religiopolitical Background of National Socialism
170
National Socialism Race as Religion
199
Consolidation and Decay
226
Conclusions and Speculations
257
Index
287
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About the author (2012)

A. James Gregor is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and Adjunct Professor at the Marine Corps University at Quantico, Virginia. He is author of thirty books, most recently Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual History of Radicalism (Stanford 2008).

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